How to make Vodka Cranberry Sauce

Colin Joliat


Cranberry sauce is the best useless food on the planet. It’s delicious but only eaten once a year. That may change if everyone starts adding booze. This Vodka Cranberry Sauce is good for year-around drunken delight. There’s a reason that the Vodka Cranberry is one of the most popular drinks.

This is another dish tailor made for your boozy Thanksgiving celebration. With all the alcohol I’m cramming into side dishes you won’t care when your mom asks why you don’t have a girlfriend or when you’re going to give her a grandchild. The answer to the latter is, “I can do that whenever you want if you’re really in a hurry, but you have to take care of it.” That puts an end to the conversation right away. You’re welcome.

Colin Joliat


I love Ocean Spray cranberry sauce from a can as much as the next guy, but there’s something nice about making your own. Plus you won’t find any packed with vodka in the grocery store.

Oddly enough, the vodka is the one thing I forgot to include in the picture. I used Tito’s again for those who care. It made sense to go with an American vodka for an American holiday. I’m not usually that thoughtful, but I know how you guys like that shit.

Colin Joliat


There really isn’t much to making these. Dump everything in a pot and boil it. Add vodka and cornstarch and cook another couple minutes. You’re done. The only thing that involves any work is zesting the oranges and lemon, and destroying something beautiful is always fun.

This may remind you of that time you made jello shots, and it should. The process is very much the same. Somehow adding vodka to cranberry sauce seems a whole lot classier than adding it to jello though. Don’t ask me why. Plus you don’t have to deal with putting it in individual shot glasses. Just dump it in a bowl and you’re good to go.

Colin Joliat


Vodka Cranberry Sauce only takes about 20 minutes to make, but do it early (day before) so you can fully chill the sauce before serving. Don’t worry if it seems a little thin when you first take it off the heat, it should thicken as it cools. Or you did it totally wrong, and Thanksgiving is ruined. I don’t know. At least you have an overly thick cocktail to ease the pain of failure.

Pair this with your Cognac Sweet Potatoes and your meal is off to a damn good start. They both come from Emeril so they work well together.


  • 1/2 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Put the cranberries, orange and lemon zest, orange and lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups of the water in a medium-size nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes.
  2. Dissolve the cornstarch in vodka and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Check out more recipes from the Guyism Grill